Archive for fitness commentary
If there’s one profession that knows about New Year’s resolutions, it’s fitness.
Every January, personal trainers, group fitness instructors and employees of gyms around the globe enjoy (suffer?) a flock of newcomers who swear that ‘This is the year!’ that they’re going to get in shape.
Yet, come mid-February, gyms are no busier than any other time of year. So what gives?
Today we have another great post from Brent Carter, Starting Strength Coach extraordinaire!
As I write this, my hip flexor is killing me, my back feels like it was beaten with a baseball bat, and my legs feel like jello. BUT, I have never felt better! This is because I just had the wonderful opportunity to lead a team of lifters at the 2015 Starting Strength Fall Classic to a victorious team win!
To cut straight to the chase, my answer is NO – at least not the way we typically perform it.
Before you get all excited, hear me out. Let’s start by looking at some of the most common “agility” drills that we do with our athletes and clients.
First, we have side shuffles, purported to improve agility in athletes like basketball players:
But what is agility really? Agility is defined as the ability to start, stop, slow down, speed up or change direction. And I would add that in order to actually improve agility, we’d have to do these things in response to an unpredictable cue, as this is how things work in sport and in life.
I want to thank two exceptionally inquisitive students in our current Theory and Application class for inspiring me to write about this. Jennifer and Juan, thank you!
Thank you because I think this is a common concern for many trainers and isn’t always handled in a manner that serves anyone’s best interest – as we discussed yesterday – and this gives me a chance to offer some advice on the matter.
SO, what does it mean and what do you do when your client says, “Can you give me some things I can do on my own?”
I’m sure we’ve all heard by now about the new world plank record set by Mao Weidong: 4 hours and 26 minutes.
Given that THIS article just came out in the NY Times, we thought it necessary to shed some light on the topic of the current diet trend known as “Paleo.” Did you know that regardless of its potential health benefits, the “Paleo” Diet might not actually be Paleolithic in nature?
If you actually read the research, there’s no real evidence to show that our ancestors – at least not everyone’s ancestors – ate a diet of predominantly meats, vegetables and berries. Read THIS review paper on the subject and you’ll learn that studies suggest our ancestors ate what was available, and this varied greatly across regions and changed greatly across time.
Think about it: When survival is at stake, you’ll eat anything – and that’s likely what they did. Much of the problem today is that people still do this even when they’re far from starvation… True, we have processing methods today that we didn’t have back then, and processed foods are surely causing a host of health problems. But I have a very hard time believing that our incredibly adaptable species has not also adjusted its regulatory mechanisms over the years to better utilize what is available today in order to continue surviving.
Additionally, even way back when, we see evidence that diet was mostly learned behavior and passed on, much like it is today. Go figure.
Bottom line: While eating a diet like Paleo that is rich in lean meats and vegetables is certainly better for health than a diet high in processed meats and sugars, the health benefits of eating “Paleo” have more to do with the promotion of nutrient-dense whole foods and banning of nutrient-void, calorie-dense “food” than with the premise that this is how we are “meant to eat” based on ancestry.
To learn more about the Paleo Diet and other nutrition trends, check out our new Nutrition Facts and Fallacies course at FPTI. We sold out the first one last weekend, so we’ll be running another in November. Stay tuned for details!
Remember back a couple of years ago when Vibram got sued for making false claims that their FiveFingers shoes prevented injury and increased foot strength? (If not, you can read about it HERE.)
Well, it looks like the company has finally agreed to pay back millions of dollars to the people – many of whom got injured – who believed these claims and purchased the shoes (although Vibram denies any wrongdoing). Check it out HERE!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to chime in with a comment.
Personally, I think the idea of minimalist running shoes is a good one, just a little premature. We do have some research supporting lesser impact forces when landing on the midfoot versus the heel, but nothing on the carryover to injury rates or performance. And the real problem arises when one jumps into a pair after having run for years in more supportive footwear and never actually changes his/her foot strike pattern… Other thoughts?
As you know, yesterday marked the 118th Annual Boston Marathon. But to the runners, spectators and anyone who has ever called Boston home, it marked a much greater victory. Not only did the community pull together to rise above last year’s tragic bombings that stopped the race short, it came back bigger and stronger than ever.
More athletes competed – some 36,000 even.
The other day, we looked at some up-and-coming fitness equipment in a post entitled, “Useful Tools or Just More Toys?”
Today, enter one of the industry’s most useless tools:
But she’s not just targeting women anymore. She now has a new “men’s only” method of training… because, you know, it’s also important for men not to overdevelop. Right now, it’s all about being ‘skinny ripped.’ Men want to be panthers. Didn’t you know?
For years, Tracy Anderson has been telling the world that when women lift heavy, they look like this:
Good thing we kept her around long enough to inform us that guys shouldn’t lift so much either, because they really want this:
And Tracy can make it happen.
MEN + PINK DUMBBELLS = SKINNY RIPPED PANTHER.
Among the other ridiculous things Ms. Anderson says in this interview are:
1. “I probably actually set a gold standard of what it takes to set a real fitness method. I did a five-year research study with 150 women and measured them every 10 days and I created original content and sequencing for each of them and navigated them..I wasn’t measuring BMI or typical measurements. I was measuring based on the idea of how to create balance where there is imbalance in the body…They knew they were guinea pigs…This was in Indiana.”
If measuring an idea based on navigating guinea pigs in Indiana is the gold standard of a fitness method, this industry is in big trouble. I either want to quit my job or work exponentially harder to shut down such nonsense – not sure which.
2. “Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.”
Huh?? Things do not get “stored” as inflammation. Inflammation occurs early in the healing process and is triggered by injury or when the body perceives invasion by a foreign agent. And yes, Ms. Anderson, people should understand this correctly… For some reason, Alanis Morissette just started playing in my head.
And her biggest fallacy yet:
3. “Our muscles and our brains are the only tools we have.”
Not true. We also have you, Ms. Anderson.
Founders of FocusNYC and Focus Personal Training Institute, Joe Masiello and Gabe Valencia – curious to see what the fitness industry has in store for us next – were lucky enough (kind of…) to make it out to San Diego last month for the annual IHRSA trade show. According to them, a Hungarian line of cardio equipment called Infrashape takes the cake for most useless, er…innovative equipment. Here are a few of the highlights:
A new twist on vibration training, this infrared total body vibration machine apparently also either tans you or melts away your fat with UV light (we can’t tell which.)
You may have heard foam rollers referred to as ‘the poor man’s massage;’ well, this is ‘the lazy man’s foam roller.’ Motorized and all. You just sit there.